Lower gas prices put money back in consumer's pockets

6:48 AM, Jun 27, 2012   |    comments
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WALKER (WZZM) -- The pain at the pump is easing for many drivers. The price of gasoline has now dropped to a new five month low.

In West Michigan, it costs around around $3.45 for regular unleaded but nearly 2 dozen states have stations selling gas for under $3 a gallon. The dip could create more than $115 billion in consumer spending.

With the expected dip in gas prices, families should save around $7.10 every time they fill up this summer. On average, that is about $30 a month.

Some people may want to put those savings back in the tank. In an average-sized SUV, a $30 fill-up equals nearly a full tank. That will definitely help turn that staycation back into a vacation.

Or how about bringing date night back. $30 won't take you far at Ruth's Chris but at Logan's restaurant it should be enough for both dinner and a movie.

Here's a thought for folks who gave up cable. The extra money saved is enough to rent a Redbox movie every night of the month.

With almost 30 extra dollars in your monthly budget surely one of the places most families will want to spend that money is in the grocery store. Many say they've cut back on more expensive grocery items to save a few extra dollars, but at Plumb's Market in Walker, fresh ground hamburger sells for $2.99 a pound but for two extra bucks customers can get 93% lean ground beef. In most stores, the average gallon of orange drink costs about $1.50. This week Plumbs is selling Tropicana orange juice with vitamin C for $5 a gallon. Those few extra dollars buys customers a healthier choice.

One thing people do in a tight economy is shop generic instead of name brand, especially on things like toilet paper. But, a few extra bucks will buy comfort where it counts.

Those who cut back on some things to be more frugal, can now think about adding them back.

However, some experts warn to not get too excited too quickly. Patrick DeHaan with www.gasbuddy.com  says there are a couple of wild-cards that could keep prices from falling, such as problems with refineries or severe weather.

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